Catalog No. 1148B
Pottery or stoneware, relief, 0.5L, pewter lid.
“Das war der Zwerg Perkeo im Heidelberger Schloss,
an Wuchse klein u. winzig, an Durste riesengross.
Man schalt ihn einen Narren, er dachte: Liebe Leut’,
wärt ihr wie ich doch alle feuchtfröhlich u. gescheut.”
(There was the dwarf Perkeo in Heidelberg castle,
small and tiny in stature, but with a huge thirst.
They called him a fool, he thought: Dear people,
if all of you were but like me, boozy and shunned.)
The text on this stein is the first verse of a poem by Josef Viktor von Scheffel, written in 1847 and set to music in 1872 by Stephen Gruwe.
The centrally depicted Perkeo was an 18th-century dwarf who served as both court jester and keeper of the royal wine keg in Heidelberg. Despite his size, he was reportedly quite a prodigious drinker and, according to legend, his death came about when he mistakenly drank a glass of water. Side images depict Heidelberg Castle, as well as the castle’s 58,100-gallon royal wine keg, purportedly the largest wooden barrel in the world.